mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Definition of margin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of printed or written matter
2 : the outside limit and adjoining surface of something : edge at the margin of the woods continental margin
3a : a spare amount or measure or degree allowed or given for contingencies or special situations left no margin for error
b(1) : a bare minimum below which or an extreme limit beyond which something becomes impossible or is no longer desirable on the margin of good taste
(2) : the limit below which economic activity cannot be continued under normal conditions
c : an area, state, or condition excluded from or existing outside the mainstream the margins of critical discourse— Barbara L. Packer living in society's margins
4a : the difference which exists between net sales and the cost of merchandise sold and from which expenses are usually met or profit derived
b : the excess market value of collateral over the face of a loan
c(1) : cash or collateral that is deposited by a client with a commodity or securities broker to protect the broker from loss on a contract
(2) : the client's equity in securities bought with the aid of credit obtained specifically (as from a broker) for that purpose
d : a range about a specified figure within which a purchase is to be made
5 : measure or degree of difference the bill passed by a one-vote margin


margined; margining; margins

Definition of margin (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to provide with an edging or border
b : to form a margin to : border
2a : to add margin to margin up an account
b(1) : to use as margin margin bonds to buy stock
(2) : to provide margin for margin a transaction
c : to buy (securities) on margin

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from margin


margined \ ˈmär-​jənd How to pronounce margin (audio) \ adjective

Examples of margin in a Sentence

Noun Please write your name in the left margin of the page. a book with wide margins Mountains lie at the city's northern margins. Verb the riverbed is margined by a flat beach of smooth rocks
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The margin for the voting was tight, with the common and hourly portions each passing by 17 votes and the salary portion rejected by 14 votes. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 16 July 2021 The survey’s overall margin of error is plus or minus 0.5 percentage points. The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 July 2021 While the margin was smaller, Democrats also outnumbered Republicans in 2014 and 2018 when Cate won election and re-election by comfortable margins. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 July 2021 For manager Rick Schantz, though, the goal margin will be secondary to the three points, as Phoenix won its second straight and stretched its lead atop the Pacific Division. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 5 July 2021 Even if Interpublic Group’s NOPAT margin falls to 9% (10-year average vs 11% TTM) and the firm grows NOPAT by just 2% compounded annually over the next decade, the stock is worth $39/share today – a 22% upside. David Trainer, Forbes, 29 June 2021 Not massive mistakes, but when the margin is this slim, everything matters. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 28 June 2021 In soccer, and sports alike, the margin for error is often small and those minor details can add up. oregonlive, 25 June 2021 The potential margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, researchers said. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, 22 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many of those retail investors who entered the market turned to margin trading to make risky moves in 2020. Joe Walsh, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Factors such as product mix and revenue management, as well as better demand planning helped, and the company will now double down on segments that are accretive to margin such as e-commerce and skincare. Kevin Rozario, Forbes, 10 May 2021 Even so, Melius Research analyst Scott Davis has argued there’s no structural reason that margins can’t return to the mid-teen levels of yesteryear. Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'margin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of margin


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for margin


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin margin-, margo border — more at mark

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About margin

Time Traveler for margin

Time Traveler

The first known use of margin was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for margin

Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Margin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for margin



English Language Learners Definition of margin

: the part of a page that is above, below, or to the side of the printed part
: the place where something (such as a piece of land) stops : the edge of something
: an extra amount of something (such as time or space) that can be used if it is needed


mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Kids Definition of margin

1 : the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of print or writing
2 : border entry 1 sense 2 We walked along the margins of the forest.
3 : an extra amount (as of time or money) allowed for use if needed We have a margin of five minutes before the bus leaves.
4 : a measurement of difference They lost by a small margin.


mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Medical Definition of margin

1 : the outside limit or edge of something (as a bodily part or a wound)
2 : the part of consciousness at a particular moment that is felt only vaguely and dimly

Keep scrolling for more


mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Legal Definition of margin

1 : the difference between net sales and the cost of the merchandise sold from which expenses are usually met or profits derived
2 : the amount by which the market value of collateral is greater than the face value of a loan
3a : cash or collateral deposited in a regulated amount by a client with a broker who is financing the purchase of securities — see also regulation t
b : a deposit made with a broker by a client who is trading in futures

More from Merriam-Webster on margin

Nglish: Translation of margin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of margin for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about margin


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!